Renee Mihulka – Children's Book Reviews & Writer

The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan

A uniquely told story of a fourteen-year-old boy navigating the complications of  war, changing regimes and friendship.


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OVERALL: 2.5 2.5 Stars

Concept:4 Stars
Characters:2.5 Stars
Plot:1.5 Stars
Writing:3.5 Stars


Brian Conaghan


I reviewed this book for the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

You can find my review by clicking here: CBCA Review



This is really a book for kids over the age of thirteen because of its themes, but also due to the unique style in which it is written. And it’s this style that will either really speak to your child or cause them to walk away. The author of this book should be commended for trying to take on such a topical issue but as a story, I just think it falls a bit flat. However, this is only my opinion and when the book won the Costa Children’s Book Award 2016 the judges described it as “Timely yet also hilariously funny, Bombs is a necessary take on modern life in extraordinary circumstances.” So I guess you need to make your own decision.

The themes include refugees, oppression, war, political difference, friendship and survival.

Things to ask and discuss:

If you haven’t read the book, don’t worry. Ask these questions anyway and coax the answers out. Or just let your child mull it over alone. And don’t worry if they don’t want to talk about some of the things listed here, it’s ok to just let them talk about the bits they want to. Bottom line is, they will love that you are showing an interest and asking for their opinion even if they don’t always show it.

This book also has teacher’s notes devised for it by the publisher.

*Spoiler alerts in the questions!!*

1. Why do you think it was so important for Charlie to teach Pav the local lingo?

2. Which town’s regime was the right one, the good guys – Little Town’s or Old Country’s? Why?

3. Think about the events that led Charlie to having to make the decision whether or not to follow The Big Man’s plans. Should he have known what The Big Man was planning earlier? Do you think he owed The Big Man? What could he have done differently?

4. Why do you think the author called the book ‘The bombs that brought us together’?


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Book Reviews and Writer